Over the past 6 weeks, 5 families (selected by the Boys & Girls Clubs) have been working hard to develop new healthy eating and exercise patterns (part of The Triple Play Fit Family Challenge). Their ultimate goal is to maintain these habits for a lifetime, and teach their peers to follow in their footsteps. Next week I’ll be traveling to Los Angeles to meet the families and participate in the awards ceremony – where the winning family will receive an all expense paid vacation. (Maybe if I play my cards right they’ll take me with them? One can always dream…)
I myself have been challenged to encapsulate all the best nutrition research into simple guidelines for daily living. I gave it my best shot in this blog post, and today I’m going to review some final food philosophy, straight from one of my favorite books, Food Truths, Food Lies.
Calories matter most – food is like fuel. It is burned for energy, and when we have reached our daily calorie needs, the rest is stored as fat. Some food is more calorie-dense than others, but the bottom line is that to maintain our weight we need to balance calories in (what we eat) with calories out (what we burn through activities of daily living and/or exercise).
You can’t exercise your way to weight loss. In other words, you can’t outrun your mouth. Just think about it Read more »
As my regular readers already know, I’ve been eagerly coaching the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Triple Play Fit Family Challenge (FFC) participants on healthy eating. During a recent phone call with the families I expressed some wistfulness about not being able to *see* what they’ve been eating (the FFC blog is filled with charming action shots of the families exercising, but almost no food cameos). And this is what the Porter family just sent me. It’s a video inviting me to a dinner of grilled tilapia, brown rice, acorn squash, mushrooms and broccoli. Tell me if this isn’t the cutest nutrition video ever?
In my recent phone chat with the Boys & Girls Clubs participants of the Fit Family Challenge, one of the callers confided in me that she works long hours and struggles to find time to cook healthy meals for her family. This is a very common problem, though there are tricks to make meal preparation fast and affordable. I decided to take the challenge myself, cooking a pork chop dinner for three, with only 9 ingredients in 9 minutes. I took a photo of the starting ingredients here. The total cost of the used portions (I’m not counting all the PAM, and apple sauce that I didn’t use for example) was about $9. That’s only $3 per person, less than most fast food meals! (I served ice water with the meal, but a glass of skim milk would have been fine too.)
My ingredients include:
1. Quick-fry pork chops, seared in a pan coated with PAM cooking spray. I chose pork chops with very little fat, and cooked them for 4 minutes on each side. Read more »
As I’ve been coaching the families in the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Triple Play Fit Family Challenge I’ve received some excellent questions about how to modify food preparation to make meals more healthful. I thought I’d share some of my nutrition tips on my blog – and feel free to chime in as well in the comments section! (Please note that I have no relationship with the manufacturers of the products I mention below. I happen to like and use them, but I’m sure there are many others that are good.) Here’s what I told one of the families:
At first it’s hard to make the switch to “healthy” cooking because let’s face it, fat and sugar taste so good. However, there are ways to substitute healthier choices that are delicious too. And over the long haul, you can actually change your taste buds so that they LIKE lower-fat options. It seems unbelievable, but honestly – I have learned to prefer sugar-free peanut butter, whole grain bread, and skinless chicken to the regular stuff. One thing I will say, though, is that as long as no one has any high blood pressure or kidney problems – salt is ok. I think too much has been made about the “dangers” of salt. Healthy bodies can easily get rid of extra salt… so no need to torture yourself with a low salt diet. If you cut out junk food and fast food, your salt intake will likely fall to healthy levels.
Perhaps you’ve heard that increasing your water intake is part of a healthy lifestyle – and that you should drink at least 8 glasses of a day. This “rule of thumb” is actually not based on scientific evidence. Although for many people it’s not harmful advice, you may not need to work so hard at getting enough water every day.
The amount of water that your body needs depends on three main variables (yes, needs can vary with different illnesses and conditions, but let’s talk about the average American):
1. Your body’s size
2. Your activity level
3. Your environment (weather and humidity conditions)
The larger you are, the more water you lose from sweat (be it from physical activity or hot weather conditions), the more water you need to replace. The amount you need can vary a lot – and in most cases there are two tricks you can use to stay properly hydrated: Read more »
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